Can I Get Ticketed By an Off-Duty Police Officer?

We are thankful for our law enforcement personnel who sacrifice their lives every day to protect our rights and our safety. As citizens, we expect police officers to be honest, respectful, and un-biased figures of society, so that we may trust them to carry out their duties responsibly.

But sometimes, a cop can exhibit overconfidence and carry out personal agendas that are not necessarily a positive contribution to our communities. One common example of this involves off-duty cops and unmarked police vehicles. Continue reading to learn about your rights as a citizen in the case that you are pulled over by an off-duty police officer in an unmarked vehicle.

Off-Duty and Unmarked

Have ever been pulled over by an unmarked police vehicle? They appear to look like any other normal vehicle on the road, and then all of a sudden, you see their flashing lights and sirens in your rearview mirror. Unmarked police cars are purposeful and used in several types of investigations and routine applications. So if you are pulled over in one, by a cop that is actually on-duty, then you are being legally pulled over. However, if you were pulled over by an off-duty police officer in an unmarked vehicle and out of uniform, the situation changes.

According to Indiana Code § 9-30-2-2:

A law enforcement officer that is off the clock and driving in an unmarked vehicle does not have the authority to pull someone over and issue them a citation or ticket.

Accordingly, any evidence gathered by the police officer during an unauthorized stop is suppressible, and carries no weight in a court of law whatsoever. Many drivers have had their citations and tickets revoked under these circumstances, after an attorney successfully presented their argument regarding this Indiana Code.

How to Challenge an Illegal Ticket

It is important to understand the limits of a cop’s authority, and when and where they have jurisdiction. This way, you can know whether or not a ticket is being issued legally. If this has ever happened to you, you might want to consider challenging it, or expunging the violation altogether. Talk to a record expungement lawyer to see if you qualify.

Remember, an off-duty officer in an unmarked vehicle has just as much right to pull you over as you have the right to pull over the car in front of you. So if a cop on his way home from work wants to pull you over, keep this in mind. But of course, never keep driving. It is best to just stop and talk to the police officer. Do not argue, accept the ticket, and then immediately call a defense lawyer when you get home.

 

Things to Know About Domestic Violence Laws in the US

In every household there comes a time that an intense verbal argument occurs for a number of reasons: jealousy, financial problems, sibling rivalry, etc. However, sometimes people may physically assault a family member because they cannot control their anger, want to assert control or may have been verbally provoked. In so doing, the aggressor has committed Domestic Violence.

Whenever such serious matters occur, you may think of seeking outside help either by calling the police or by consulting an attorney. It is preferable to discuss the issue with an experienced legal professional first, since you may have trouble handling the legal ramifications that may ensue following the crime’s disclosure.

The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the most important legal aspects of Domestic Abuse, in a simplified and accessible way and to provide a starting point for more specialized study.

1. What is Domestic Violence?

Any person who physically abused a family or household member has committed the crime of Domestic Violence. Domestic assault is a distinctive and more serious case than Assault and Battery -which involves strangers- and is treated accordingly.

2. Domestic assault can be difficult to prove.

The easiest way to identify an abused victim is by looking for signs of assault on the body (scratches, bruises, etc.). In the absence of such evidence, eye witness’s testimonies are valuable, but are not always available. What adds complexity when evidence is inconclusive, is that it can be hard to prove the crime or ascertain who the instigator was (both parties can claim to have been abused or acting in self-defense and the aggressor could deny the charge).

3. The severity of the assault, the victim and the aggressor’s medical history and potential addictions are taken into account for the sentence.

Simply put, an aggressor who slapped his spouse will be punished more leniently, than one who punched and kicked her. If a child was abused the law is more severe. A person with addictions (a drug-user or an alcoholic), or mental disorders may also be required to undertake therapy.

4. If domestic abuse is reported, it can severely disrupt family relations.

Domestic assault is a serious criminal charge, which means that if the authorities find out about the crime, they are obligated to take legal action, whether the victim intents to or not. The state laws of Virginia dictate that the authorities can issue a no-contact (protective) order, effectively prohibiting any form of communication between the aggressor, the victim and the rest of the family.

5. First time offenders can have their case dismissed or may be judged more leniently.

The guilty party can have their sentence dismissed, if they have never committed a crime before. It is also possible that the state offers a plea bargain to the accused. If the abuser admits guilt before the case goes to court, the sentence can be more lenient.

6. The alleged abuser’s and the accuser’s personality and habits play an important role in court.

A person with a toxic and abusive personality, will have a harder time convincing the court about his innocence. On the other hand, the accuser may have an ulterior motive or may be a habitual liar. All of the above aspects come into play when the case is tried.

7. It’s advisable for both parties to avoid contact after the crime has been reported.

Whether you are the accuser or the perpetrator it is preferable to refrain from communicating between each other, as any form of contact could have a detrimental effect to your case, especially if a protective order is in effect.

Conclusion

Domestic Violence can be a complex and challenging crime to handle. Whether you decide to press charges against an abuser, or think you have been wrongfully accused, you should always consult with an experienced criminal law attorney.

 

Look for Prisoners Through The Inmate Search

Inmate search is a progressive online service offered by many governmental and non-governmental organizations in many parts of the western world. The inmate search is an online database service through which anyone can get information about the offenders who were or are convicted by the court of law. The inmate search enables the family members or friends of offenders to know about the prisoner’s status while it alerts the general public about the various crimes and the offenders associated with the crimes.

The inmate search also known as inmate locator enables you to know the complete details of the offender and his health condition and you can also deposit money on offender’s name if necessary. The details are being compiled and recorded by many governmental and non-governmental organizations for the welfare of the society.

The concept of inmate search has got prominence for its motto of creating a safe and protective society for the public and future generations. The organizations that are providing these services online have a database of adult inmates in their respective states. Anyone can use these websites to get the information about the prisoners by giving few details like name, last name, jail number etc. You can also narrow down your search by giving apt information which is being asked in the website.

The inmate search enables you to keep an eye on the offender while he/she has been in prison. You can check their status frequently and you can also transfer funds on their name. Before starting search for the victim or offender you just need few details like place of conviction, his/ her name, type of crime etc so that you can get the correct information at the first instance.

The information provided by these firms is only for the convenience and safety of public. Any unauthorized usage of the information can lead to criminal prosecution. The websites maintain the data of the offenders who are convicted and are under the supervision of court of law. They don’t include information of those who are under trail and has to be proven guilty. The use of inmate data search is very easy as it require minimal details and is quite user friendly.

The inmate search database also shows list of people who are in death row and the reason for their illness. This information might be helpful in taking the right action at the right time which would save your inmate’s life if possible. All these records will be maintained by the departments for a period of 3 years even after the completion of offender’s sentence as this would help you to clear all strains of conviction on the inmate’s name.

 

Can I Expunge More Than One Arrest on My Criminal Record?

Every state has their own separate set of laws surrounding the requirements and limitations of criminal record expungement. It is important to understand the basics surrounding the laws of record expungement in your particular state and county first, and then discuss your eligibility and petition options with a licensed criminal defense attorney. You can only file for expungement once in your lifetime, so it is vital to apply correctly. A simple clerical error or missed deadline can get your petition denied. A criminal defense attorney can prevent that from happening to you.

Continue reading to learn more about the expungement process, and what you can expunge from your criminal record.

Expungement Laws Vary From State to State

Your eligibility, even your potential, for sealing or expunging criminal records depends on the state your criminal records originate. Look below at an example of how one state governs the criminal record expungement process.

For Example:Indiana has two laws that governs the process of concealing or erasing criminal records. One may petition for either expungement or restricted access, depending on their eligibility. And the prerequisites for eligibility differ between the two options.

If a person was never actually arrested or charged with a crime, or, they were never arrested but charged with a crime, but the charges were later dropped due to mistaken identity, actual innocence, or lack of probable cause to believe they committed a crime, they may be eligible to have their record entirely erased from their criminal history, which falls under expungement.

On the other hand, if a person was arrested, but the charges were later dropped, or they were later acquitted of all charges, they could qualify to have their records sealed from the public, which is different from expungement since the record still remains. Its access is simply restricted from the general public, including employers, landlords, banks, and more.

Expunging More Than One Record

If you do live in a state that allows record sealing, and you qualify for criminal record expungement, you may be able to expunge more than one record, so long as the petition is filed in every county, for every record, within a 12 month time span. Although separate petitions, this would qualify as one single petition. This rule varies among counties and states. So be sure to hire a licensed criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in your state’s expungement laws. They can help you navigate and file your petition accurately.

 

3 Legal Tips for Teaching Kids How to Drive

The American culture is full of all kinds of family traditions that are handed down from generation to generation. Sunday dinners, family reunions, summer camps, and secrete recipes are some of the most time-honored customs practiced around the country; but one of the most influential and memorable American customs is teaching your teenagers how to drive.

Unfortunately, letting your teenager get behind the wheel of a car may be illegal under certain circumstances, even if it’s just a few innocent laps in an empty parking lot. In fact, many parents and guardians are breaking the law when they first allow their child to drive, all the while, unaware that they are putting themselves at risk of being charged criminally. If your child is still too young, not legally permitted, and uninsured, you could face criminal charges if you allow them to drive.

So before you decide to teach your teenager how to drive, be sure you have all the information you need to stay legal while doing it. After all, it is a time that should be thoroughly enjoyed, and a memory that should be revered. Continue reading to learn 3 tips that will help you make your moment permissible under law.

1. Obtain Legal Driving Certification

If you are teaching your child how to drive before they take a drivers’ education course, be sure to get them legally licensed to drive. Under a certain age, a teenager can receive their Learners’ Permit, which allows them to legally drive as long as there is a licensed adult who is at least 25 years old (varies depending on state) in the vehicle with them at all times. The age limit and requirements for obtaining a learners’ permit varies from state to state. Check with your local DMV for information specific to your city of residence.

For example, In Indiana:

  • 15 year olds who are enrolled in a drivers’ education program can obtain a learner’s permit;
  • 16 year olds who are NOT enrolled in a drivers’ education program can obtain a learner’s permit;
  • Teenagers who are 16 years and 90 days old, and have completed a drivers’ education program, can obtain a probationary drivers’ license;
  • Teenagers who are 16 years and 270 days old, and have NOT completed a drivers’ education program, can obtain a probationary drivers’ license;
  • An 18 year-old can obtain a full unrestricted driver’s license.

Source: Indiana DMV

2. Get Insurance Coverage

After your teenager is permitted to driver under law, you still need to obtain proper insurance coverage through a valid automotive insurance provider. The policy must be active for it to be legal. Although many states do not require coverage during the learners’ permit phase, it is mandatory everywhere once a provisional license is obtained. Check with your local DMV for specific insurance requirements in your state.

3. Get Your Traffic Laws Straight

The driving laws have changed quite a bit since you learned how to drive, most likely anyway. So before you begin teaching your young one how to drive, be sure to brush up on the current traffic laws. Not only have traffic laws changed, but restrictions for certain types of driving licenses have too. Know all of this information so that you do not pass on inaccurate driving knowledge to your teen driver.

 

DUI Lawyer Job Description

DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence and this can mean drugs or alcohol. If you are pulled over for this offense and cannot pass a test of exams, which are called sobriety tests and does not pass a breathalyzer then you will most likely be arrested. The breathalyzer test shows just how much alcohol is in your bloodstream and if it is over the legal limit, you are considered DUI. When this happens, you will need to get in touch with a DUI lawyer. This professional will represent people who have been charged with drinking alcohol that results in you being over the limits set by the laws of the state will driving a vehicle. They will be the one that handles all aspects of your case.

When you first meet with your DUI lawyer, they will explain all of the possible scenarios with you if you are convicted of DUI, which can include:

• Fees
• Fines
• Jail-time
• Revoked or suspended driving license up to twelve months or lifetime suspension if they have repeated offenses
• A set number of hours doing community service
• Court ordered alcohol rehabilitation if you have many convictions.

The scenario can be one or more of these possibilities. If they are an experienced DUI lawyer, they will challenge the arrest. They will try to convince the Court to reduce the sentence or lower the charges. Many times the lawyer will dispute if the police officer was within their constitutional rights to stop their client’s vehicle. The lawyer may also question whether the testing that was done was accurate. The DUI lawyer will make sure that their client understands what is happening, what will happen in the months to follow and clarify any legal issues. The lawyer can give their client details on what sentence they can expect if this their first DUI charge or if this is just one of many DUI arrests.

When they go to Court, there are generally several hearings. It will start with a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles and the last hearing in the State or County court. The lawyer will attend each hearing and advocate for their client

It can be overwhelming to choose a good DUI lawyer, especially if this is your first offense. You could look for one on the internet or the phone book but the best way is to ask someone that you know who has been in this same situation. When trying to decide which DUI lawyer to hire consider their experience and fees because some will charge by the hour while others charge a flat fee. In some cases, if you cannot afford a lawyer you may receive help from a public defender.

What The Appointment Of Jess Sessions Might Mean For Corporate Criminal Law

One of the biggest reasons people feared a Trump administration is because, being a businessman himself, some Americans worry that he will give special favors to corporations. Since the Attorney General is responsible for prosecuting corporate crimes, many are wondering how Jess Sessions’ appointment might affect corporate prosecutions in the future. Many civil liberties and civil rights groups are in direct opposition to a Sessions’ appointment for significant reasons.

Flashback to when George W. Bush nominated John Ashcroft: many worried that Ashcroft would be more lenient on corporate indiscretions and crime, but that didn’t happen. In fact, he was responsible for one of the highest number of criminal prosecutions in history. With Ashcroft in charge during such scandals as Worldcom, Enron and watching the dot-com burst, the Department of Justice indicted many high-profile offenders during the George W. Bush Administration. Big corporate heads like Arthur Andersen went bust, thanks to Ashcroft’s diligence.

So, should corporate America be happy or not about Sessions’ appointment? Many who know his record believe that they should expect the same from Sessions as they did from Ashcroft — swift and severe punishment for crimes. The Department of Justice consists of very few politicians. It is made almost wholly from career prosecutors, which is unlikely to change. So, although Sessions will have some effect, it is likely to be limited.

Sessions is probably going to enhance the Department of Justice’s enforcement of immigration laws, which means that corporations may face stiffer and harsher punishments when they decide to employ undocumented help. Senator Sessions also has a good record when it comes to white-collar crimes. He has consistently favored a more aggressive approach to enforcing the law. So civil liberties organizations should have their fears calmed, but corporate America may have to be on their toes.

Sessions worked for the Department of Justice for 14 years as an Assistant US Attorney in Alabama, and 12 years as a US Attorney. It is hard to tell from his experience if he will be tough on corporate crime, because very few corporations resided in his district.

He is slated as taking a major role in the Savings and Loan fraud prosecution, however, which occurred when he was a US Attorney. His handling of the situation proved that he took criminal law seriously, regardless of whether it was white-collar crime or not. “A crime is a crime,” in Sessions’ own words.

When BP had the oil spill, Sessions is on record as stating that they should be held liable for what was their responsibility. He went on to say that there is no such thing as being too big to fail. That means that he is unlikely to be swayed by the economic impact that the fall of a corporation could have in relation to their criminal activity prosecution. Crime needs to be punished when it is committed, no matter who the defendant is or what type of influence they have.

Sessions believes the whole notion of “too big to fail” is fundamentally dangerous. If the courts prosecute according to shareholders and stakes, then there is no honesty or realism in criminal law. If a corporation is defrauding people, then they are hurting everyone.

He is also not in favor of allowing boards or any consumer attorney to mitigate the details of any case, nor does he believe corporations should be allowed to handle an investigation alone without the intervention of the Justice Department. Sessions has publicly stated several times that there is no such thing as privilege when it comes to corporate crimes.

Although many on the left are concerned that Sessions is too conservative to become the District Attorney for a Trump administration, they are overlooking his statements and his conduct when it comes to criminal law and corporate crime. With the public statement that a crime is a crime regardless of who perpetrates it, Sessions’ appointment is likely to come down hard on corporate crime, not afford it leniency.

The ones who should probably fear an appointment are those in the corporate world who are guilty of wrongdoing. Shown to be fair-minded and not ascribe to any notions of privilege, Sessions has a record of being tough on crime, even corporate criminals.

 

Six Uncommon Facts About Fingerprinting

There are a few things everyone knows about fingerprints, like that criminals sometimes burn them off to avoid being identified during fingerprinting, or that everyone has a unique pattern. But these six facts about prints aren’t known by most.

Some People Don’t Have Them

There are three genetic conditions that can prevent the formation of any identifying marks on someone’s fingers: Naegeli-Franceschetti-Jadassohn syndrome (NFJS), Dermatopathia pigmentosa reticularis (DPR), and adermatoglyphia. Unfortunately, while a lack of prints is not ideal, it’s also not the worst symptom associated with these disorders.

Fingerprinting Isn’t Foolproof

It’s comforting to think investigators can always catch the bad guy if he forgets to wear gloves to a crime scene. The truth is, the method of identification is not always foolproof. There’s no minimum of comparison points for a match in the United States, not to mention the fact that humans are fallible. In 2011, a study found that there was a 0.1 false positive rate, which means that there are possibly 60,000 false IDs.

They Have an Interesting Origin Story

Ever wonder why humans have these markings at all? Well, it’s the result of the development that begins while we are in utero. It’s currently believed that prints grow at a different rate from the rest of the skin on the hands, which makes it pull at the dermis and results in the strange patterns that make identities so distinct. Essentially, multiple layers of skin get bent and twisted together and result in this strange and unique marker.

Other Animals Have Them

Humans aren’t the only mammals to carry this unique genetic marker. In fact, humans are in the company of gorillas, chimpanzees, and koalas. Science suggests that this may be a result of living in trees, which may explain the genetic development. In fact, koalas’ prints are so similar to humans’ that even the best experts have had a hard time distinguishing them from one another.

They Can Be Erased

Some conditions or professions may find people losing their markers. Certain jobs like repetitive bricklaying may wear them away, and some chemotherapy drugs like capecitabine can result in a reduction or erasure of the markings altogether. In fact, even a strong case of poison ivy can erase them, but they would return eventually.

There Are Some Grisly Attempts to Remove Them

Removing prints is not as easy as it may seem. In the 1930s, fingerprinting became so common that criminals were determined to avoid being identified by them. This included methods such as filing them off, burning them off with acid, or cutting them off entirely. In the case of one robber, Robert Phillips, he talked a doctor into grafting skin from his chest onto his fingers. However, the prints on his palms gave him away.

When it comes to these unique genetic markers, part of the mystery is all of the history and strange genetics associated with them.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About House Arrest

House arrest is a court-ordered, officer-supervised penalty that is sentenced to certain offenders in lieu of jail time. When sentenced to such penalty, a person must remain within the set boundaries of their home at all times, but may be given limited travel privileges for work, school, or doctor’s appointments. Both adults and minors can be sentenced to house arrest, and they are all put on temporary probation during the duration of the sentence. Probation can include routine meetings with a probation officer, random drug screenings, community service, therapy, counseling, victim impact panels, educational drug courses, and more.

Although the name seems pretty clear, there is much more to a house arrest sentence than just home confinement. If you or someone you love is facing house arrest, it is helpful to get some answers to some common questions in order to put your mind at ease and clear up any confusion you had about the terms and conditions of house arrest. Continue reading to review the most frequently asked questions about home confinement to do just that!

What are the General Rules of House Arrest?

Every person’s case is different, and subject to varying regulations. However, the general rules of house arrest include no drugs or alcohol in the residence, no drug or alcohol consumption, a probation officer can come by the home at any time to check for drugs or alcohol or to perform a random drug test, adherence to a set curfew, and all orders of probation (i.e. community service, rehabilitation, etc.).

How are You Monitored?

A person on house arrest wears an electronic sensoring device on their ankle at all times. This device is coupled with another that is connected to a person’s home phone. The device will record the dates and times of all traveling within and outside of the set boundaries. If any of these records show that a person traveled outside of their boundaries during a time that was not permitted, the probation officer is notified and the person is violated. Tampering with the device will also be recorded and considered a violation.

What Happens if You Violate its Terms?

If someone breaks any of the rules of their sentence, they are subject to being ordered to a probation violation hearing in court. This means you not only face the previous charges, but now face additional ones as well. Sometimes, a probation officer will give a warning the first time, but it is important to understand that the terms are taken very seriously and one minor infraction will be penalized.

Do You Need a Lawyer if You Violate?

In most cases, yes. The penalties for such violations are taken very seriously, and the penalties a person faces for them are very harsh as well. Your criminal defense lawyer already knows your case and will defend you once again to minimize the penalties you face for violating. They are your only hope at avoiding the maximum charges for a violation.